Contact: Michael Traupman, Director of College Relations, 610-740-3790
Abigail Fota, College Relations Associate- Media
Iva Tchomakova



10,000 Square Foot Center to Accommodate Growth in Science and Nursing

Allentown, PA (October 31, 2003) - On Monday, November 3, 2003, Cedar Crest College will break ground for the Harold and Miriam Oberkotter Center for Health and Wellness. The groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 4:30 p.m. and will be followed by a reception in the Harmon Hall of Peace in the Miller Family Building.

The Harold and Miriam Oberkotter Center for Health and Wellness will add much needed laboratory and classroom space to support the tremendous growth at the College over the past several years. In 2003, the College welcomed its largest freshman class ever - 239 students. Since 2001, Cedar Crest has experienced a 50 percent increase in traditional-aged science and nursing students. The number of students interested in forensic science alone has increased ten fold since its inception in 2000. The lifelong learning population at Cedar Crest has increased as well. Since the launching of the evening weekend nursing program in 2000, the number of lifelong learning students in the College's nursing major has increased nearly 150 percent.

To accommodate the growing needs of the College, the new facility will feature approximately 10,000 square feet of space, including a forensic and biological science lab, a biochemistry lab, a 100-seat, state-of-the-art multi-media classroom, faculty offices and a student lounge.

The new Harold and Miriam Oberkotter Center for Health and Wellness is the vision of Elaine Oberkotter Harmon '59, daughter of Harold and Miriam Oberkotter, and her family - with her husband John and her daughter, College Trustee, Wendy Gironda '82. Harold Oberkotter was the fourth Chairman of the Board and CEO of the United Parcel Service (UPS) until he retired in 1981. Both Elaine and Wendy see the new facility as a giant step forward in providing facilities that will lead the campus in an ongoing revolution towards creating healthier students and a culture of wellness at Cedar Crest and beyond.

This fall, the College launched The Health Connection: Creating a Culture of Wellness. This initiative brings all of the resources of the College together - academic, social, extracurricular - in an attempt to create a new generation of healthier students. The building of the new Oberkotter Center adds another resource to the College's efforts - and provides space for programming and academic majors which have a direct relationship to creating optimal health.

At the ceremony on Monday, the College will include presentations from academic areas that are already leading the way in creating a culture of wellness. Student, faculty and administrators will share their observations on what it is like to be a part of a healthy community. Some will present specific research that connects their academic area to the advances in health and wellness.

The entire Harmon family has demonstrated a concern and commitment to the spiritual and physical health not only of Cedar Crest College, but of the global community. Elaine has done much to bring her work in education, human rights and world peace to Cedar Crest and for her efforts, was awarded an honorary doctorate of public service from the College in 2001. Previously she was honored by the College with the Amnesty International Award (1999), for her work in promoting peace and human rights and with the Cedar Crest Alumnae Award (1997) for her community service and dedication to serving others. Through her generosity, the Harmon Hall of Peace was established in 1997, serving as an entranceway to the Miller Family Building and a permanent reminder of Elaine's work.

Granddaughter of Harold and Miriam Oberkotter and Trustee Wendy Harmon Gironda '82 has also continued her family's history of service and philanthropy. She has been extremely active in the College's Alumnae Association, serving on the executive board fro 6 years and serving as her class president. She has chaired the Alumnae Scholarship Program, served on the College President's Council and is a life member of the Alumnae Association.

"My mother and I have discussed how different out lives would be if we had emphasis on health and wellness when we were students," said Gironda. "When I was a college student - aged 19 or 20 - we didn't talk about health. We behaved like typical students - late night pizza eating and a lot of junk food. At that age, we didn't understand the importance of exercise and nutrition for total health. But now we have a unique opportunity. This is the time to put all of the information together. We have an opportunity to produce a generation of healthy students."

Media are invited to attend the Groundbreaking Ceremony. For more information, please contact the College Relations Office at 610-740-3790.

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Abigail Fota
College Relations Associate - Media


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